Posted by: Gregory Linton | 02/28/2019

New report highlights the need for college students to develop “soft skills”

Last week, Bloomberg Next and Workday released a five-page report titled “Building Tomorrow’s Talent: Collaboration Can Close Emerging Skills Gap.” The research team surveyed 100 senior-level employees in academia and 100 in business with a focus on preparedness, skills, collaboration, and planning. I am going to summarize the part of the report that focuses on “soft skills.”

The survey found that the soft skills identified as most important by both business and academic professionals are the following:

  • Team-working skills
  • Analytical reasoning/critical thinking
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Decision-making
  • Ethical judgment

The survey found that 90% of corporate respondents and 88% of academics think that college graduates have the hard skills to do their jobs successfully, but 41% of corporations and 48% of academics think they do not have the soft skills they need to perform at a high level. The soft skills most noticeably lacking are emotional intelligence, negotiation and persuasion, and complex reasoning.

How can colleges and universities better prepare their students with soft skills? The report cites David Williams of Deloitte, who proposes that they need to adapt their methodology to teach skills like teamwork, collaboration, and emotional intelligence. This approach will require more reliance on small groups and a psychology-oriented curriculum within a business skillset.

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